November 23rd, 2014
The .308 Winchester, a shortened version of the .30-06, has almost completely replaced the .30-06 in NRA competition. The .308 is required for Palma shooting, so it is also used by many Palma competitors in other long-range and mid-range prone matches. However, with the exception of M1 Garand matches, you won’t see many .30-06 rifles on the firing lines. Does that mean the .30-06 is obsolete? Is the .308 Win really much more accurate? Or does it just offer the advantages of reduced recoil and reduced powder consumption?
Cartridge photos courtesy Deuce45s.com, a leading source of specialized military cartridges.
In his Sibling Rivalry: .308 vs. .30-06 article on the Rifleman’s Journal website, German Salazar argues that the .30-06 remains a viable competition cartridge, particularly for the long-range game. This isn’t just a subjective opinion. German has data to back up the argument that the .30-06 can still do the job.
German compares the actual scores produced by his .308 Win rifles with the scores from his .30-06 rifles. German analyzes scores, over a two-year period, shot by “matched pair” rifles (one in each caliber) with similar actions, stocks, sights, and barrels. For comparison purposes, German also includes score data from his 6XC, a modern low-recoil chambering.
RESULTS: .308 Has Small Edge at Middle Distance, But .30-06 Is Better at Long Range
Surprisingly, the .30-06 performed nearly as well as the .308 at middle distances. The .30-06 delivered 99.2% of max possible scores vs. 99.5% for the .308 Win. Notably, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 racked up 97.7% of max scores vs. 97.3% for the .308 Win. So, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 actually proved superior to the .308 Win. German explains: “This isn’t too surprising when one considers [the .308's] limited case capacity for the bullet weights typically used in Long-Range shooting. They just run out of steam and dip perilously close to the transonic range as they approach 1000 yards of flight. The extra 150 fps or so that can be safely obtained from the .30-06 case really pays off at 1000 yards.”
In NRA Mid-Range matches (500 and 600 yards), the average score and percentage of possible score for each cartridge was as follows:
.308 – 597-36X (99.5%), 960 rounds fired
6XC – 596-35X (99.3%),1260 rounds fired
.30-06 – 595-31X (99.2%), 2580 rounds fired
If we look at the score averages, the .308 comes out on top at the Mid-Range distances… by 0.3% of the possible score. By the way, notice that the 6XC, as good as it is, simply straddles the .30 caliber cartridges; it is not the winner.
German rarely shoots the .308 in matches that are only 1000 yards; most of his 1000-yard .308 shooting is done in Palma matches which include 800, 900 and 1000 yards. To make the comparison useful, the Long-Range results are presented only as a percentage of the possible score and the 800- and 900-yard stages of Palma matches were NOT included.
In NRA Long-Range and Palma matches, the average percentage of possible score for each cartridge at 1000 yards was as follows:
6XC – 98.9%, 360 rounds fired
.30-06 – 97.7%, 460 rounds fired
.308 – 97.3%, 490 rounds fired
Editor’s Note: Among the three cartridges German studied, the 6XC actually proved best at 1000 yards, delivering 98.9% of the maximum possible scores. The .30-06 was second-best with 97.7%, slightly better than the .308 Win at 97.3%.
You’ll want to read German’s full Sibling Rivalry article, which includes an interesting history of the .30-06 and .308 in High Power shooting, along with tables showing German’s actual scores with his .30-06, .308 Win, and 6XC rifles. German’s story first ran in 2011.
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November 23rd, 2014
The digital archives of Shooting Sports USA contain many interesting articles. A couple seasons back, Shooting Sports USA featured a “must-read” expert Symposium on Eye Dominance, as it affects both rifle and pistol shooting. No matter whether you have normal dominance (i.e. your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand), or if you have cross-dominance, you’ll benefit by reading this excellent article. The physiology and science of eye dominance is explained by Dr. Norman Wong, a noted optometrist. In addition, expert advice is provided by champion shooters such as David Tubb, Lones Wigger, Dennis DeMille, Julie Golob, Jessie Harrison, and Phil Hemphill.
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November 22nd, 2014
Richard Franklin (who operated Richard’s Custom Rifles prior to his retirement), has built scores of varmint rifles, in many different calibers. One of Richard’s all-time favorite varmint rifles is a 14-twist, 22BR built on his model 11 stock in laminated Black Walnut and fiddleback maple. Richard says the rifle is versatile and deadly accurate out to 400 yards. Richard uses a Leupold 8.5-25x50mm LRT with varmint reticle.
“This is my light walking varminter. It’s built on a blueprinted SS Remington 700 short action and chambered as a no-turn 22 BR for Lapua brass. The bolt handle is a Dave Kiff replacement and I’ve fitted a Jewel BR trigger with bottom safety. Barrel is a Lilja, 1:14″ # 6 contour with a muzzle diameter of .750″. I shoot the 40gr V-Max in the rifle at 4000 FPS. Its tough on hogs if you don’t try them too far. 400 yards is about the max with it. Accuracy is outstanding and with Roy, Mike, my grandson and myself shooting this rifle I don’t believe it has missed more than 3 hogs out of over 100 shot at this summer. This rifle is carried in a ceiling rack in the truck where its handy and is used by the first person that grabs it when a hog is sighted if we are moving between setups. The Varmint reticle on the Leupold is nice for quick hold-overs as you change distances.”
Detail of Model 11 Stock (Different Rifle in Birdseye Maple)
22BR Rivals 22-250 Performance
With bullets in the 40gr to 60gr weight range, the 22BR gives up very little in velocity to a 22-250, despite burning quite a bit less powder (30-32 grains for the 22BR vs. 35-38 grains for the 22-250). With a match-quality chamber, the 22BR will probably have an edge in accuracy over a 22-250, and you should experience longer barrel life. Here are some recommended 22BR loads for 40-60gr bullets:
For more info on the 22BR for varminting, read our 22BR Cartridge Guide
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November 22nd, 2014
Lapua brass is so good that you’ll be tempted to just load and shoot, if you have a “no-turn” chamber. However, some minimal case prep will ensure more uniform neck tension. Keeping your neck tension very uniform allows more consistent bullet seating. That, in turn, usually yields better accuracy, and lower Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation (ES/SD). Lapua brass, particularly 6BR, 6.5×47, .243 Win and .308 Win comes from the factory with tighter-than-optimal necks. Before you seat bullets, at a minimum, you should inside chamfer the case mouths, after running an expander mandrel down the necks. The expander mandrels from both Sinclair Int’l and K&M will both leave the necks with enough neck tension (more than .001″) so you can then seat bullets without another operation. Put a bit of lube on the mandrel before running it down the necks — but remove any lube that gets inside the necks before seating bullets.
Both Sinclair and K&M Tools make a die body specifically to hold expander mandrels. The Sinclair version, is shown above. This $24.99 unit fits caliber-specific expander mandrels ($9.95) which measure approximately .001″ less than bullet diameter for each caliber. This is an updated “Gen II” design that completely captures the mandrel within the die so the mandrel cannot pull out. It also has an O-ring in the die cap that allows the mandrel to self-center within the case neck. Sinclair now offers three sizes of die bodies for expander mandrels: .17 -.310 Caliber (#849-011-715WS); .357 – .50 caliber (#749-008-843WS), and a special .50 Cal die body for large-diameter 50 BMG presses (#749-009-163WS, $49.99). All Generation II dies are machined from stainless steel and the standard diameter 7/8-14 dies include the Sinclair Stainless Steel Split Lock Ring.
Once you run the Sinclair expander mandrel down the necks of Lapua brass, after you account for brass spring-back, you’ll have about .002″ neck tension. This will make the process of seating bullets go much more smoothly, and you will also iron out any dents in the case mouths. Once the case mouths are all expanded, and uniformly round, then do your inside neck chamfering/deburring. The same expander mandrels can be used to “neck-up” smaller diameter brass, or prepare brass for neck-turning.
Forum member Mike Crawford adds: “These expanders can also reduce runout from offset seating. Prior to bullet seating, expand the sized necks to force thickness variance outward. With the Sinclair system, the necks will springback fine, and will not be pulled out of center. This leaves plenty of tension, and bullets seated more centered. I do this, even with turned necks, to get improved seating.”
Mandrels vs. Expander Balls on Decapping Rods
If you haven’t acquired an appropriate expander mandrel for your brass, but you DO have a full-length sizing die with an expander ball, this will also function to “iron out” the necks and reduce tension. However, using a die with an expander ball will work the necks more — since you first size them down, then the ball expands them up again. Typically (but not always), run-out is worse when using an expander ball vs. an expander mandrel.
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November 22nd, 2014
Book by Michael Bussard (edited by S.P. Fjestad)
If you’re a serious shooter, the latest 5th Edition of the Ammo Encyclopedia (released in August, 2014), belongs in your library. This 1008-page book is probably the most comprehensive and up-to-date book in print covering current and obsolete cartridges and shotshells. Bussard’s Ammo Encyclopedia is a massive resource work. The 5th Edition now boasts 105 chapters, covering thousands of handgun, rifle, and shotgun cartridges from the past century and a half.
One of the best features is a 12-page color section depicting actual size drawings of 265 current rimfire/centerfire cartridges and shotshells. You won’t find that many “life-size” cartridge drawings in one place even on the internet. Cartridge profiles and ballistic charts have been expanded to include all new factory cartridges. The authors have even included air rifle pellets and historical images and charts. Softcover, 1008 pages.
|Comments from guys who bought the book:
“This book contains a vast array of information on many modern and even obsolete ammunition. Definately recommend for any modern reloader novice or experienced.” – Duggaboy460
“It’s a great reference book for individuals who reload their own ammunition. There is a lot more info in this Edition. Everyone who likes this information should have it in their library.” – Reloader
“I like the general and technical comments that are available for each and every cartridge. Information that predicts if a cartridge will stay in production for many more years or rapidly become obsolete.” – RSL1
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November 21st, 2014
Taurus has introduced an innovative new DAO pistol, the “Taurus Curve”. This .380 ACP compact carry pistol ($392.42 MSRP) features a curved frame (see photos below). Seen from the rear, the grip curves inward (to the left). Seen from the front, the frame and grip (below the slide) curves to the right. The purpose of the curve is to make the gun fit more comfortably when carried in a pocket or inside the waistband. (The Curve comes with a built-in metal spring clip for inside-waistband carry).
The extended front section of the Curve’s frame houses a red laser and a lamp with twin LEDs. That’s a smart feature on a carry pistol we think. Taurus claims the Curve is the first production pistol that combines both integrated LED lights and an aiming laser.
The 10.2-ounce Curve is a tiny gun. With a 2.5″ barrel, the pistol measures just 5.2″ long and 3.7″ high. Width is 1.18″ inches, while the grip is just 0.88″ — very slim indeed. Capacity is 6+1 rounds of .380 ACP. There is no external, selectable safety, though the Curve does have a magazine disconnect and loaded chamber indicator.
GUNS Magazine was able to field-test an early production Taurus Curve. Reviewer Mark Kakkuri reports that the DAO Curve was reliable: “The 100 or so rounds I fired through the gun fed well and the empty cases ejected perfectly. The long trigger was decently smooth and the recoil, while sharp, was manageable. And not only was the gun a reliable shooter, it also hit where I aimed, thanks in part to its integrated light and laser.”
The reviewer also validated the Curve’s unique shape: “In my pocket, the Curve indeed fit comfortably, printing less than most other pocket pistols, looking sort of like a large wallet. In my waistband… the well-designed bend in the frame proved more comfortable than most other pistols this size.”
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November 21st, 2014
Forum member Danny Reever and this Editor recently discussed how novice reloaders can struggle with the fine points of reloading, making errors in seating depth, bushing choice, or sizing their cases. We agreed that a good resource covering more than “Reloading Basics” is sorely needed. Danny reminded me that Glen Zediker’s excellent Handloading for Competition book has been available since 2002. Danny says this may still be the best guide in print for those getting started in precision reloading, though the book is not without flaws.
Danny observed: “I consider this still the best book out there on the subject. I’ve bought a lot of other books only to be sorely disappointed after spending $30-$40 of my hard-earned cash. This book is not one of those! I’ve read and re-read Zediker’s treatise at least four times and refer to it often for advice while reloading. My number one suggestion for those who buy the book is to sit down with a highlighter and read it cover to cover. It’s well-written with a bit of humor and it is not boring.”
Extremely comprehensive, Zediker’s book covers nearly all of the key factors involved in accurate reloading: case sorting, brass prep, load development, neck-sizing, full-length sizing, bushing selection/use, tool selection, priming, powder measurement, and bullet seating. The book also explains how to test and evaluate your ammo, and how to monitor and interpret pressure signs.
There are many “must-read” sections in Zediker’s book, according to Danny: “The section beginning on page 161 dealing with concentricity (and how to achieve it) is excellent. Likewise the Load Limits section discussing pressures offers very valuable advice and info. You should also read Zediker’s commentaries about load testing, powders (burn characterics etc.), and the effects of temperature.”
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November 21st, 2014
To promote its upcoming Black Friday Specials, Midsouth Shooters Supply is giving away three (3) Hornady Reloading Systems. You don’t need to purchase anything to enter the contest. Ten days from now Midsouth will select three lucky winners at random. The third prize winner gets a Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Kit. The second prize winner receives a complete Lock-N-Load AP press. The luckiest person of all, the Grand Prize winner, will receive the impressive Lock-N-Load Ammo Plant, complete with bullet and case feeders. ENTER CONTEST HERE. Good luck!
To enter contest (for free) CLICK HERE to launch contest page.
Once you’re on that page, scroll down and fill in your contact information.
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November 20th, 2014
Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog.com
The NRA Foundation is proud to support Louisiana State University’s Mobile Marksman Project, a system developed by the LSU Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Program to help high-level quadriplegics to participate in the shooting sports. The nearly $2,200 grant funded the 2014 system, the team’s final design iteration.
Created in 2009, the Mobile Marksman Project is a manually-controlled shooting platform that allows handicapped hunters to aim and fire a mounted firearm with head-tracking software and a small tube that is activated with a puff of air.
Capstone Design Instructor Capt. Dave Giurintano and the Mobile Marksman team worked with high-level quadriplegics to address system requirements and create a lightweight, portable system that is simple to use and enjoy. Recent additions include recoil-absorbing legs and a rail-mounted camera that displays the crosshairs and target on a high-resolution digital screen.
“It has been our profound pleasure to have a hand in working on it, to extend the hunting and shooting experience to everyone, regardless of physical disability,” said Garen Armbruster, Mobile Marksman Team Leader.
Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearm-related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations. These activities are designed to promote firearm and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills, and to educate the general public about firearms.
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November 20th, 2014
Nightforce makes great scopes — just ask the man who owns one. And Vortex offers scopes that offer exceptional “bang for the buck”. Here’s your chance to get a Nightforce NXS, or Vortex Viper PST scope at very low “close-out” prices from Bullets.com. The folks at Bullets.com tell us: “We are selling these at deals that are so low your viewers won’t be able to pass them up. We want this stock gone before the end of the year and have slashed prices to move it.” Here is a partial sample of the items on sale. NOTE: CLICK HERE to see the complete list of sale items, which include other lower-magnification Nightforce NXS scopes, as well as Vortex spotting scopes. Supplies are limited at these close-out prices.
|Nightforce Scopes ON SALE (Partial sample)
Vortex Scopes ON SALE (Partial Sample)
Online Shopping Tips
Before placing your order with Bullets.com, be sure you are 100% certain about the model you are ordering. Some scopes with the same magnification range come with a choice of either 50mm objective or 56mm objective. Likewise, there are various reticles offered for each basic model, and Nightforce offers 1/4 MOA clicks on some scopes, with 1/8 MOA clicks on others.
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November 20th, 2014
At AccurateShooter.com, we do love ultra-accurate rifles that can shoot quarter-MOA (and better) on a good day. It’s nice to own a state-of-the-art rig built with a custom action and premium hand-lapped barrel, fitted with high-end optics. Quality is its own reward.
On the other hand, a truly utilitarian firearm has its own practical appeal. And perhaps no rifle is more utilitarian than a take-down .22 LR Ruger. Easy to store and carry, a take-down 10/22 makes a perfect “truck gun” for a ranch or farm. A 10/22 is also great for plinking with young family members, blasting pesky rodents, and doing general duty around your property. You can even use a take-down 10/22 in the CMP’s rimfire sporter matches.
Considering the merits of a take-down rimfire rifle, we were pleased to see that Davidson’s is now offering a Ruger 10/22 Takedown kit, with a special fitted NRA-branded Cordura soft case. The NRA logo and block letters are on the bolt-face, and the rifle comes with a natural gear camo finish. Street price is about $390.00, including the Cordura case.
The rifle comes with a Coyote Tan Cordura case, high-viz sights, a scope base adapter, and a drilled & tapped receiver. Separating the two halves of the rifle is easy. First lock the bolt back and verify the rifle is unloaded. Then push a recessed lever, rotate the sub-assemblies, and pull them apart. That’s it. The take-down locking system allows for a secure connection of the barrel and action and returns the firearm to zero, even when receiver-mounted optics are used.
Helping the Cause
For each rifle sold, both Davidson’s and Ruger contribute $10 to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. So — if you purchase this package, you’ll be helping the effort to defend our Second Amendment rights. This exclusive NRA 10/22 Special Edition is available now at Davidson’s dealers nationwide and GalleryofGuns.com.
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November 19th, 2014
Here’s a shocking video showing a massive Kaboom (KB) that literally destroyed an M1 Garand in the hands of a lady shooter. One second she has a classic .30-06 battle rifle in her arms, and the next second she has nothing but a pile of parts. She is fortunate to have survived this incident without apparent serious injury. She may have had a squib (undercharged round) in her prior shot at the 00:12 time-mark. At 00:15 it seems she may have experienced “click no bang” (we can’t tell for sure). The detonation occurs at time-mark 00:25, and is then replayed in slow-motion.
If this Kaboom wasn’t caused by a squib, there might have been a catastrophic failure of the cartridge that failed to fire at 00:15. The shooter herself, posting as ArizonaGirl24 on YouTube, thinks the gun may have fired out of battery. What do you think?
Text accompanying the posting of this video on LiveLeak, states: “A woman, her shooting partner, and their cameraperson are lucky to be alive. Her M1 Garand detonated after she failed to check the barrel for an obstruction due to an apparent squib round….
[After the shot at 00:12] she is obviously aware that something is amiss and seems to check the chamber, but does not unload the rifle to check for the presence of a barrel obstruction.
She raises the rifle and fires it again, causing a catastrophic weapon failure. Parts of the weapon fly in all directions. The video then terminates.”
What happened to the shooter? She reported: “I was very lucky with the outcome. I have lots of splinters and bruising, but nothing broken. My left hand took the brunt of the blow to my wrist and palm of my hand. Still pretty painful, but I will be fine.”
Video tip from Mark LaFevers. We welcome reader submissions.
LESSON ONE: If you experience any kind of malfunction, or what appears to be a light-recoiling (or soft-sounding) shot, you should STOP shooting immediately. Clear the firearm and check for barrel obstructions.
LESSON TWO: Always wear ear and eye protection when shooting any firearm, even rimfires.
LESSON THREE: With a semi-auto gun, ensure the bolt is completely in battery after every shot.
LESSON FOUR: When hand-loading check EVERY round for powder charges prior to seating bullets, and weigh your loaded rounds before boxing them. Also check for high primers on EVERY round. If using a progressive press, use a Lock-Out Die that will alert you to any under-loaded cartridge. Be wary of commercial reloads.
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